Parks and gardens
Thirteen of the planet’s 20 fastest growing cities are in areas of the developing world where AKDN works. Ten of those are in Africa. In many of these cities, green space has often been overwhelmed by growth, migration from the countryside and a lack of planning. “Garden cities” have become agglomerations of brick and concrete. Encroachment, both legal and illegal, has gradually swallowed up forests and grassland, diminishing green space. Overwhelmed by financial demands, municipalities have neglected the problem, assuming that green space was unproductive and therefore of little value -- or worse, a financial liability.More
It is in this context that the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) set out to prove that, rather than being financial liabilities, green spaces themselves could be catalysts for positive economic, social and cultural change. In Cairo, Bamako, Kabul, Delhi and other sites, AKTC’s rehabilitation of existing parks and the creation of new parks have made these parks hugely popular among local populations and international visitors – and are running surpluses.
Twenty years after its founding, with 10 park and garden projects now in the AKTC portfolio, AKTC has demonstrated that parks not only contribute to the quality of life in cities, but that they can be self-sustaining if conceived and managed properly. In several locations, it has even demonstrated that, under the correct conditions, parks and gardens can also be economic generators that drive – directly and indirectly – a broad advance of positive change in terms of social development, local employment, entrepreneurial activity and cultural development.